Sunday, August 23, 2009


Have you ever had a theme seem to constantly come up over time?

Awhile back I had a friend call me out of the blue asking me if the alcoholic has a choice when it comes to the first drink.

The book "Alcoholics Anonymous", on page 24, states, "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink". After much thought I came to the conclusion that the power lost is not so much in the "choice" but our ability to see more than once choice. As drinking alcoholics we have few choices when it comes to the drink, if we even have more than one. When things are going good we celebrate with a drink. When things are not going so good we drink for relief. When we are numb, we drink. We decide to drink because either the drink is the only choice or the choice we believe that will work for us in any given situation.

By putting down the drink and working the 12 steps of AA one of the first gifts we get is more choices. The first choice I added was ice cream! Seriously, though, I found I immediately learned there were other choices besides alcohol. As a result I began to make better decisions and better decisions helped me to not desire the drink.

Since then I have come to learn that life is nothing more than a series of decisions. I decide whether or not to get out of bed in the morning; whether or not to go to work; whether or not to go to Church; whether or not to eat and, more importantly, whether or not to eat healthy; and, greatest of all, whether or not I will take that first drink. All of these decisions determine whether or not I become happy, joyous and free! So sobriety isn't a decision, sobriety is what gives me more choices when making a decision.

Which leads to the reason for "blogging" this topic. Today's readings at Mass (Joshua and John) speak directly to choices and decisions. In today's first reading, Joshua makes the Israelites make a decision as to which god(s) they will follow and offers them a couple choices: "the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling" or the Lord. They choose the Lord.

In John's gospel we continued the Bread of Life discourse. After Jesus tells them that (v53) "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you". Now his apostles and disciples must decide whether or not they will continue to follow Jesus. In the New American Bible v66 reads "As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him". In addition, in v64 it states that "For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him". Many made the decision to no longer follow Jesus; and verse 64 may even imply that Judas made his decision to betray Jesus because he could not understand Jesus teaching.

As Catholics this is a very important lesson for us on the Eucharist. If the host/bread we receive in Church is only a symbol why didn't Jesus call out to all those that left him immediately following this sermon and tell them so? He knew they would not understand it and nothing he said would convince them that we needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Fortunately, the apostles, less Judas, did believe, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, and in the Catholic Church we now have the Eucharist available every single day!

So take a few moments and think about how many decisions you made today and what the choices were when you made them. Were there choices available that you were not aware of? What did you base your decisions on? Were you happy with all of your decisions? Did you learn from any of them.

For me - I am starting to look at all the decisions that are automatic and determine what the other choices are. In doing so I can change my life in little ways, hopefully for the better!

God Bless!

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